Saw on TV news report last night about solar panel installation.
Apparently, there's a tax discount for this. Local facility will do a 30
sq. ft. installation with needed wiring and panel modifications for about
$22K. City of Austin, TX offers a $13K discount as well. Must be done by a
contractor, not a do it yourself. If so, no discount.
Am waiting for a installation kit for the DIY guy. Possibly with support
from a qualified electrician for installing panels to reintroduce power to
the power company to allow supplying the grid and get discount on same.
Hopefully, less expensive. Would like to do the majority of the south
facing roof in solar panels. No obstructions on that side of the roof.
Would like to see support from the home insurance industry for replacement
in event of severe hail, and otherwise for fire and such. Would also like
to see this in new home contract as an option at minimum, embedding the
wiring and panels as part of the normal electrical plans. Perhaps, leaving
out all but the solar panel installation itself if the owner wants same
later. And, standardization throughout it all.
I don't believe it will ever be a DIY kit simply because of the possible
dangers with high voltage electricity involved. You will always have to
hire a licensed (insured, too!) electrician to do all the connections
properly. I would guess you might offer your help in climbing the roof and
helping with physically installing the panels but the electrician will
have to go by what his insurance company tells him: he may not even be
able to have you involved in the install at all.
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Just my observation. I went to seminars on solar panels and they just
aren't ready for prime time. Even the presenter at one seminar was very
candid that right now this is "feel good" stuff and using current
technology you won't even recover the installation cost. This is just
politicians throwing our money away because they all seem to be afraid
to advocate conservation. The tax discounts and subsidies come out of
At least in my part of the country (PNW), photovoltaic panels are not
a break-even project. But solar hot water appears to be economically
quite viable, even if just used as a pre=heat for a regular water heater.
The other issue with PV (or other emerging technologies) is that if
no one invests early on, the technology probably isn't going to develop
any farther. :-/
We're in the process of designing a house, so we've been doing a lot of
checking on such things. At least for us, a heavily sun-tempered design
with solar water heating is looking like fast payback design.
> Solar heating of water is quite common in Italy.
A friend has a home made solar water heater here in the UK (not known for
it's sunny weather). It doesn't eliminate the need for a conventional boiler
but it seems to do a good job of pre-heating the water so reducing the bill.
There are some new solar heating gadgets that are more efficient and
less obvious. I'm thinking of buying an evacuated tube collector to
play with, just to see what it does under our conditions. Looks like a
reasonable design for radiant floor heat, though I might need a greenhouse
as a place to dump excess heat (twist my arm!!! <g>)
PV for running a water pump for a solar heat collector also looks like
reasonable payback. PV in "off the grid" amounts is still iffy,
judging from the data I've been able to collect around here.
(BTW, our climate is much like that of London, England --we don't
get huge temperature swings like continental climates.)
Seems to always boil down to 2 things (sex not included for this topic),
money and power. Money gets them voted in, they don't want to relinquish
their power once in.
Doesn't speak for home insurance slow to act on their part though.
Well, I have done some research in this area. What you say may have been
true a few years ago. They have improved this technology. I considered
staying off of the grid because I built my house about a 1/2 mile from the
grid. I chickened out because the region I live in does not have enough
yearly sun exposure. I live in Maine. I do have some friends and
acquaintances though that do have total solar. They supplement with
generators. They do have to live a tad bit differently. They do not have
toasters, electric dyers, refrigerators. They do their laundry at a
Laundromat. The instead cook with propane.... they have a propane fridge.
They pump water on sunny days into a large cistern. One gut I know has a
pick up truck with a bank of batteries. He drives to work and when he comes
home he plugs his truck into the house to offer more power. he also has a
lot of battery operated devices. He likes being independent and also loves
it when storms blow through and everyone loses power except him. I think
people should let the government supplement people and the solar. Other
choices with solar could be a hybrid system. We need to reduce our
dependence on oil especially foreign oil. We are all too spoiled and waste
so much oil on electricity. We waste a lot of resources on things like
Christmas lights and the like.
If it were REALLY about reducing dependence on foriegn oil in a
SIGNIFICANT way we would be building nuclear power plants everywhere. (Like
Europe is)The Navy has been using them on ships and subs for 50 years with
no problems. CHEAP ABUNDANT CLEAN POWER...... Instead we get theses feel
good TAXPAYER financed programs. Like the original poster who wants the
state,feds and insurance company to fund his solar panels that will never
be cost effective so he can FEEL GOOD or the total BS ethanol which is no
more than sweet deal for farmers at taxpayers expense because IT WILL NEVER
BE COST EFFECTIVE. Don't even get me started on hybrid cars and Carbon
And to the guy from Maine...who the hell are you to decide how much power
anyone uses? Do you live in a Teepee and ride a bike to work or do you just
like to lecture other people to feel superior like your buddy Al Gore and
the rest of the Limosine Liberals??? Let me guess..Do as I say not as I do ,
I'm from Maine too... Ever on AMG???
Having been in the U.S. Navy and retired, I see your point. Having
servicing weapons systems that use depleted uranium for warheads, and later
in my career, researching exactly what this material is and its physical
effects on people other than what the U.S. Navy provides as information, I
disagree for the present time.
Depleted uranium originates from nuclear power plants as a waste. Nor, do I
agree with the method of storing such used material for some generation down
the line to fix it. If its ever to happen or possible.
Is there an alternative to such relatively "free energy", no. But doesn't
alter the facts. I'm tired of the last 3 generations dumping on their
subsequent generations for their oversights of technology. Gotta stop
someplace as its becoming cumulative from one generation to the next. Some
generation needs to start with a clean slate, not all their previous
generations mistakes on their back to boot. Leave my great grand-kids outta
Agreed! Agreed! Agreed!
http://preview.tinyurl.com/2v9w9f (Links to amazon.com - "The Nuclear Energy
Option", which a bit dated (mid 90's) dispells a lot of myths with what was
the state-of-the-art in nuclear generation ten years ago).
Want to cut gasoline usage by 15-20%? Get cities and towns to syncronzie
I originally came from the road construction business (1975-1998). According
to a 1978 report (during the Carter energy fiasco), merely sync'ing traffic
signals would cut fuel usage by those amounts. Another similar report in the
early 80s stated much the same in conjuction with traffic safety. It claimed
about 40% of road deaths were due to "faulty" signals.
In the intervening years, it's gotten worse. Towns now use out-of-sync
lights in conjunction with traffic scams ...I mean CAMS, to bilk motorists
(can you say 7 second yellows now are 4.5 seconds and turn when you're 100
feet away? Sure you can).
Of course, the towns would have to forrgo about $12 billion in traffic fine
revenue, and they could not longer use the gridlock plight as an argument
for more money, personnel, "studies", etc. Also, they wouldn't kill about
12,000 people a year.
Of course, the money is more inmportant than a mere 12,000 citizens.
You did not read my post thoroughly. I am talking about hybriding a solar
paneled system to a house. I am not talking about hybrid cars. I did not
choose the solar paneled system. I mentioned Maine because of the lack of
daily sunshine for it to be truly an effective power source. They have more
days of sunshine in places like Arizona. When I say days of sunshine I am
speaking in terms of days through out a year where the solar panels can
collect power. There is no need to bring politics into this as I am neither
a liberal or a conservative. Solar power does work even in the state of
Maine where there are less days of sun. I am not telling anyone to use less
electricity. I was just stating that Christmas lights ARE wasteful. Sure
I put up a Christmas tree. BUT.. When I see a house decorated to the hilt
with 1000's of light bulbs it seems kind of greedy. I drive a car that gets
29mpg. I live 5 miles from work. I walk on fair weatehered days and
sometimes I ride my small motor bike to work. In winter there is a cross
country skiing trail that I can ski on to go to work. I have done that too.
The nation as a whole could do more besides building nuclear power plants
and subsidizing solar systems. We need to be imaginative and be willing to
do our part to help.
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